Say:

Russia is visible from the United States, as evidenced by a photograph shared in February 2024 that supposedly shows Russian territory as seen from Alaska, just 2 miles away.

Classification:

Classification: Mix

Classification: Mix

Context:

Although Russia’s Big Diomede Island and Alaska’s Little Diomede Island are actually about 2.5 miles apart and can be seen from each other, the viral photo purporting to document that view was taken near Lorino, in the continent of Russia, and does not show any American soil. .

On February 3, 2024, a photograph purportedly showing a view of Russia from Alaska circulated on social media. “Russia is 2 miles from Alaska,” one Reddit post captioned the image, while another mail on X (formerly Twitter) stated that “Russia is 55 miles from Alaska.”

“It is real?” asked one Reddit user. We discovered that the image was also shared on Instagram and appeared in a BuzzFeed article.

In short, the photograph is authentic, but it does not show Russian territory visible from Alaska.

The photo appeared in a 2018 BBC article with the headline “Lone American sailor detained in Russia’s Far East near Alaska” and in an article by TASS, a Russian press agency, credited to “Юрий Смитюк “, which translates as “Yuri Smityuk”. “. We discovered that the photograph was captured by Russian photographer Yuri Smityuk. The caption of the image shared by IMAGO, a German photo agency, read (emphasis added):

CHUKOTKA, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2018: Mechigmen Spit near the whaling settlement of Lorino. There are 1,200 people living in the village, which is the center of subsistence whaling and walrus hunting in Russia. Lorino sea hunters have an annual catch limit of 60 gray whales and 1 bowhead whale.

Therefore, the photograph was not captured in Alaska, contrary to what some social media users claimed. However, it is true that Russia’s Big Diomede Island and Alaska’s Little Diomede Island are about 2.5 miles apart. (The mainland territories of Russia and Alaska are approximately 55 miles apart at their closest points.)

(Google Maps)

Since the so-called Yesterday and Tomorrow Islands are so close to each other, it is possible to see Russian territory from Alaska, as can be seen in the Getty Images photograph below:

(Getty Images)

For reference, this is what the Diomede Islands look like from above:

(Getty Images)

In January 2011, we investigated whether vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said, “I can see Russia from my house” during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Sources:

Anchorage, Mailing Address: 605 West 4th Avenue Suite 105 and AK 99501 Phone: 907 644-3661 Contact Us. How close is Alaska to Russia? – Alaska Public Lands (US National Park Service). https://www.nps.gov/anch/learn/historyculture/how-close-is-alaska-to-russia.htm. Accessed February 7, 2024.

Diomedes Islands | Bering Strait, Russia and Alaska | British. December 18, 2023, https://www.britannica.com/place/Diomede-Islands.

Mikkelson, David. “Sarah Palin said, ‘I can see Russia from my house’?” snopesJanuary 29, 2011, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/sarah-palin-russia-house/.

Islands of yesterday and tomorrow. January 27, 2018, https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/91638/yesterday-and-tomorrow-islands.

By Sam